A story to make you smile

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I recently had the pleasure of attending The Smile Train’s Wimbledon Barbeque on behalf of The Moodie Report, writes Victoria Bowskill. The sun-drenched event was held in celebration of an extremely beautiful young lady with a winning smile called Pinki Sonkar (pictured).

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Pinki was a patient of cleft charity The Smile Train in India several years ago, when she travelled with her father from their remote village to the charity’s partner hospital, G.S. Memorial Hospital, for free cleft lip surgery. Pinki’s life-changing journey was documented in an Academy Award-winning short film, Smile Pinki.

The Smile Train transformed Pinki’s life. Thanks to her operation, the eleven-year old has been able to attend school; to walk the red carpet at the Oscars; and now, to enjoy a starring role at Wimbledon.

Pinki took her beautiful smile to Centre Court last Sunday where she performed the coin toss at the Gentlemen’s Singles final and met tennis superstars Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. It is difficult to imagine what more exciting experiences could possibly be on the horizon in Pinki’s life than the most famous movie awards and one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world.

Saturday’s barbeque was an opportunity to celebrate The Smile Train’s achievements as the charity nears its goal of one million smiles; to celebrate Pinki’s role at Wimbledon; and to thank donors for making it all possible. Attendees were able to meet Pinki along with the surgeon who performed her life-altering surgery, Dr Subodh Singh.

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From left: Dr. Subodh Singh, Pinki’s father, Programme Director Smile Train India Mamtaa Carrol, Pinki Sonkar, The Moodie Report’s Victoria Bowskill, David Shanks and UK Fundraising Director for The Smile Train Amerjit Chohan.

The Moodie Report is proud to support a charity that makes such a huge difference to the lives of hundreds of thousands of children. The Smile Train has an extremely tangible end result. Cleft lip and palate repair is not a complicated surgery, but it is all too often left untreated in the developing world for purely economic reasons: parents simply cannot afford the treatment.

The problem is frequently so severe that children are unable to eat or speak properly; are not allowed to attend school or hold jobs; and face isolation, pain and ostracism. We’re delighted to help The Smile Train put smiles on young faces and provide children with the opportunity to live full, productive and, hopefully, happy lives. Here’s to many more success stories. And many more smiles.

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